Before joining L3Harris in August, I interned in five different industries – space, automotive, defense, high-tech and entertainment. I hold both undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical engineering from UCLA. A career in STEM has always been the perfect fit for my background and education, as I've always loved technology and problem solving.
What my resume won't tell you, though, is about the challenges I've overcome to get where I am today.
My father immigrated from Mexico to the United States and met my mother when they worked together in a field picking strawberries. About a decade later, I was born. My dad now works in construction and enjoys fixing cars in his free time, and my mom recently retired as a letter carrier in the United States Postal Service. In our working-class family, my sister and I were the first to go to college. While I didn't grow up with many resources to pursue a career in engineering, with support from my family and many mentors along the way, I followed my dream.
It wasn't easy. As a Hispanic woman, I've received comments in school and at previous workplaces such as, “you don't look strong enough to lift this aluminum sheet," “I wouldn't guess that you are an engineer" and, “I'm surprised you went to UCLA." Some have doubted my knowledge and abilities at work. At times, I've felt my performance was under more scrutiny due to the way I look. I have often wondered if my appearance or background has impacted how others approach me. This can all be discouraging, but overcoming these challenges also motivates me to keep going.
The odds may have been against me, but I've always taken advantage of and learned from the opportunities I've had. I consider myself a go-getter, as I am passionate about advancing technology and finding solutions to make life more efficient and inspiring. In my career, I am focused on innovating and always improving. I bring my whole self to work every day, and I feel that my diverse background drives me to do my best.
To those who have faced obstacles in life, I hope my story inspires you to overcome them and pursue your goals. There may be struggles throughout your journey, but you should never have to prove yourself to anyone just because of your identity. Appreciating others' backgrounds, listening to others' ideas, and considering perspectives other than your own creates a better work environment. I am thankful L3Harris is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace and I encourage everyone to contribute by practicing teamwork, kindness and understanding each other's differences.